Editor’s Note: The Sun welcomes Cindy Eggemeyer, longtime Edward Health & Fitness Centers executive director, as a fitness columnist in the Mind & Body section. She will share her expertise on healthy living and stories about people making real changes in their lives. Look for her column every other week in The Sun.
As a lifetime fitness enthusiast, I’m excited about this opportunity to write a regular column in The Naperville Sun’s Mind & Body section. I look forward to sharing my ideas on healthy living, as well as information from other wellness experts. I’ll also tell you about some interesting local people who have benefited from making even simple changes to their lifestyles — especially relating to diet and exercise.
Let me introduce myself and tell you how I became passionate about fitness. These days I can usually be found at one of the two Edward Health & Fitness Centers (in Naperville and Woodridge), where I’m executive director.
My love of an active lifestyle began early. I grew up on a farm in southern Illinois, and whenever possible, my brother and I got on our bikes and headed outside to explore the creek, build forts, play ball or even search for a lost calf. In high school and college, I channeled this energy into sports and running road races. After a stint as a high school physical and health education teacher, I became one of only six people accepted that year into Ball State University’s Human Performance Lab, a graduate program in exercise physiology. It didn’t hurt that I could fill their need for a softball coach as well. Then, armed with my masters’ degree, I began a 25-plus year career in the health-care field — first working in a hospital cardiac rehabilitation department and later in hospital-based fitness centers.
The benefits of the hospital-based approach hit home for me when I trained a young woman who was prone to seizures. She had numerous seizures while in training, but we were able to develop a program that worked for her. You wouldn’t find this level of care and involvement in a commercial health club.
Staying active is still a way of life for me personally, and cross-training is my go-to approach. I find it leads to less soreness and injury. And at 54, the days of pushing myself too hard are over. Still, I’m pleased to have nine marathons under my belt, as well as numerous half marathons and a couple of duathalons (run-bike-run).
It might sound like fitness is easy for me, but that’s not always the case. The mental challenge is often more difficult than the physical. To keep motivated, I regularly raise the bar on my goals — going from a 5K to a 10K and eventually to a marathon. Committing to this much training is still hard.
One of the things I hope to do in this column is inspire you to “get moving,” especially if you never have or to jump back in if you’ve been inactive for a while.
And for those of you more seasoned exercisers, I’d like to encourage you to shake things up by trying something that might intimidate you. I’ll explore a variety of wellness topics in addition to fitness, including some very doable nutrition tips. Learning what you can do to keep your family and yourself as healthy as possible is empowering. Jump in.
Cindy Eggemeyer has worked at Edward Health & Fitness Centers 19 of the last 24 years. She most recently celebrated her 15th anniversary as executive director of EHFC, which has locations in Naperville, on the campus of Edward Hospital, 801 S. Washington St., and in Woodridge, at 6600 S. Route 53. For more information, visit www.edward.org/fitness.